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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Does it Live Up to All the Hype?


Courtesy – CD Projekt Red

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
CD Projekt RED

So this is what transpired over the last couple of weeks, beginning with just before The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt came out…

Buddy: “Hey man, did you get around to playing your copy of The Witcher 3 yet? Man, it looks crazy good!”

Me: “Mhm…nope; been kind of busy with some other games that I’m going to review [insert yawn].”

Buddy: “Are you serious? Man, you are missing out. Let me tell you, I just can’t wait until I get my new 4k gaming mach—“

Me: “Yeah, I’ll get around to it.”

Initially, my attitude was as such; I’d been very underwhelmed by the whole Witcher world up to that point. I’d played the previous installment, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, and although I thought that the title was pretty cool, I wasn’t pulled in by the game’s story as were so many throngs of gamers. And, that had nothing to do with my gaming setup; I just found it lacking in certain ways.


Courtesy – CD Projekt Red


A week later, after I’d failed to show up for one of our regular weekend gaming sessions (dubbed Geekends), my same fellow gaming geek friend called me up again. This time he was even more ecstatic, having just purchased a monstrous new 4k gaming rig:

Buddy: “Where you been, dude? You missed our Geekend. We had some crazy-fun games!”

Me: “I couldn’t make it; I haven’t even gotten around to shaving, in fact I have a mini-epic beard thing going on. There are some pizza and frozen food boxes strewn around my gaming PC desk. My eyes are bloodshot and burning from staring at the screen for so long. I need some sleep…damn you Witcher 3…damn you…”

Yes, even though I had been more than a little recalcitrant when it came to the Witcher series, once I took a dip into The Witcher 3’s waters, I was pulled in like a flailing infant and pleasantly drowned in its immersive gloriousness.

Courtesy - CD Projekt Red

Courtesy – CD Projekt Red

During the initial prelude part of the story, I was pleased to see that The Witcher 3 continues the recent backlash (or indifference) toward political correctness, just as I mentioned in last week’s review of GTA V. My eyes were greeted with the nude curvatures of the main character’s love interest, Yennifer. It wasn’t done in a lewd or sleazy way, but as an early indicator that this was a more mature game with adult (and young adult these days) themes.

The main character in question is Geralt of Rivia, a no-nonsense, monster-hunter extraordinaire, whose gravelly voice makes Clint Eastwood sound like Seinfeld. I usually dread tutorials, as I feel that they usually feel artificial and forced, like “okay, here comes the tutorial part again…” when you first fire up a new game. I’m not going to spoil anything, but The Witcher 3 has a unique approach which (no pun intended) seamlessly blends its basic game play mechanics into the narrative. This makes it much more organic and believable, especially for newcomers to the series.

Courtesy - CD Projekt Red

Courtesy – CD Projekt Red

I say that because The Witcher 3 can seem a little intimidating at first; this truly is a massive game, scale-wise. The sheer breadth and depth of The Witcher 3’s gaming environs are enviable, even by today’s standards, especially on a decent gaming PC. The open world presented is full of magic and wonder, as well as deadly, dangerous foes and dastardly villains.

Since Geralt is in the business of monster hunting, mainly via picking up contracts in cities in towns along his travels, knowing the games controls can stand one in good stead, in terms of survival. Move, dodge, or parry at the wrong time, and you may just end up being ripped to shreds by a rabid pack of wolves, or mangled by a cranky (and horny) griffin. Sometimes the jerky camera angles swivel around a little too much, but it’s something that you can adjust to.

Earlier, pre-release issues, such as draw distance pop ups, seem to have been dealt with. However, there are still some nagging rough patches, such as when body parts, hair, and/or equipment, disappear into other parts of one’s body or into objects within the environment. There are also some scenes where a character’s dialogue comes after the movement of his or her lips, and sometimes bodies suddenly pop up onscreen, even on more powerful machines.

Gameplay-wise, there were very few issues; one I recall was when I was engaged in a particularly bloody melee with a group of wraiths and called to my trusty steed, Roach, to come and bail me out. He merely stood off a ways, casually grass grazing. These are all minor gripes, and don’t detract or take away from the overall enjoyment and immersion, however.

Courtesy - CD Projekt Red

Courtesy – CD Projekt Red

The graphics are simply stunning, and show off how far PC gaming technology has come. Seeing sunlight rays streak through a forest’s canopy, or beholding a distant town or city has never been this breathtaking, and sometimes I found myself just marveling at the splendor of this carefully crafted world. One time I was even caught off-guard while looking into the beautifully rendered waters of a trickling stream. I was promptly pounced upon by a pack of ravenous monsters and done away with. The graphics are so good that they can be distracting—but that’s a good thing!

If you’re like me and you’ve already squeezed every last drop of entertainment out of Skyrim, and have been hankering for something that can not only fill its shoes, but bust out of them (I know—strange metaphor), then this could be the fantasyfix you’ve been fiending for. I’ve been tweaking out on it for a solid week now, and even though I’m only 50 or so hours in, my phone messages are piling up, and bags are beginning to appear under my eyes. Oh Witcher, please release me from your sublimely opulent grasps…no wait…don’t…I mean, please…

In all seriousness, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a new age gaming experience for adventurous, mature-minded individuals, who want to delve into an immensely rich and mesmerizing world. Take the plunge; you won’t soon forget it (but you may forget what day of the week it is).

Score: 96%

Kane’s Suggestion:

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